Fly-by-Wire Falcon

Dassault's emerging 7X jet goes where no bizjet has gone before.

falcon1f_ind.jpg

||| |---|---| | | | Dassault Falcon Jet's new flagship, formerly code-named the FNX, has gotten a permanent name, the Falcon 7X. Dassault unveiled the new moniker, a 10-foot-long scale model of the airplane and a program progress report at a press conference at the company's North American headquarters in Teterboro in late October. The announcements were originally scheduled to have been made at the mid-September National Business Aviation Association Convention in New Orleans, but that meeting was postponed after the attack on America.

The 7X will be powered by three 6,100-pound thrust Pratt & Whitney PW307A engines, which are a derivative of the successful PW300 series already in service on other bizjets and airliners. Initial TBO for the 307A will be 7,200 hours. Honeywell, along with Dassault, is developing the avionics suite for the 7X. Dubbed EASy, the package will feature a quartet of 14.1-inch diagonal displays. EASy will also be standard fare on the under-development Falcon 2000EX, as well as on the 900EX. The 7X will be the first business jet to have fly-by-wire flight controls, a technology that Dassault has used on many of its fighter jets and that Airbus and Boeing use on their latest models.

The 7X doesn't have the ultra-long legs of the Bombardier Global Express and the Gulfstream V, but the tri-jet 7X will parlay its cutting-edge wing design into an impressive enough range of 5,700 nm and an equally impressive typical operating speed of Mach .85. The 5,700-nm range will allow the 7X to link Paris with Tokyo, Beijing, Los Angeles or Sao Paulo. From New York, the 7X will be able to fly directly to all of Europe, Riyadh, Honolulu and all of South America. The 7X's cabin cross section is the same as that of the company's Falcon 900EX but with eight extra feet of length and 20 percent greater volume. The 7X cabin has room for three seating lounges, lavatories, a galley, a private crew rest area and a large baggage compartment.

First flight of the 7X is scheduled for 2005. Dassault claims 40 orders for the new jet, with customers about evenly divided between the United States and the rest of the world. The company's goal is to deliver 250 of the aircraft over the first 10 years of production.

In other news, on October 25th, Dassault test pilots made the first flight of the Falcon 2000EX, an update of the popular 2000 twinjet. The 2000EX exchanges the 2000's CFE 738 engines for Pratt PW308C turbofans, features advanced avionics, a 31 percent increase in fuel capacity over the Falcon 2000 and a 3,800 nm range, compared with the 3,040 nm range of the 2000. Certification of the 2000EX is scheduled for third quarter of 2002, with first deliveries in early 2003. The first 2000EXs equipped with the EASy flight decks will be delivered in mid-2004.